Day Trips From Pula, Croatia [Off Season]

Check out the awesome options of excursions and day trips from Pula, Croatia, and the entire Istrian Peninsula, beautiful throughout the year!
Pula, Croatia is a hot spot for tourists for good reason. The blue water, Roman architecture, and friendly locals, all located in a beautiful wine region attracts tourists from Europe and all over the world as an awesome destination. If you look up things to do in Pula, you’ll see endless options for boat tours, island hopping, sea kayaking, and more! Sadly, if you find yourself in Pula between November-March, most of these things will be shut down for the season. This post will go over some of your best Day trips from Pula, Croatia, that can be done any time of year. 

Table of Contents

Map of Istrian Peninsula of Croatia to highlight pssible day trips from Pula, Croatia
Source - Semantic Scholar

Read More - Check out What Slow Travel is, so you can get the most out of your exploration in Croatia.

Explore the Old Town

Like every town and city in Croatia, the ‘Old Town’ has ancient architecture dating back to the days of the Romans and before. The history that has walked these streets is breathtaking, and the region has done so well to preserve the structures and atmosphere of its rich past. The following are some paid and unpaid attractions to get a taste of the city’s history. 

If you are interested in checking them all out, look into getting a ‘Pula+ Card‘ for access to 6 attractions and sights for only 105 HRK (€14) for adults and 45 HRK (€6) for students and children under 5. The card grants access into the Area, Zerostrasse, Temple of Augustus, Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria, Sacred Hearts Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria! 

Pula Arena

Pula, Croatia is home to one of the most well-preserved Roman Arenas in the world. Built in 1 AD, this arena has seen centuries of bloodshed and battles, and is still used today where it hosts concerts, the Pula Film Festival, sporting events, and more! 

The arena can be visited throughout the year with an entry fee of 70 HRK (€10) for adults and 35 HRK (€5) for students and children. If you’re on a budget, the magnificence of this arena can be experienced from the outside, with the ability to walk 360 degrees around the perimeter. Seated right near the main harbor, this is a must-see destination in Pula any day in the off-season between 09:00-17:00.

Aerial view of the Pula Area, an ancient colosseum from the Roman Empire
Source - History Hit

Fortress Kastel / Pula Castle

Built on top of a hill in the old town, the Pula Castle has a great vantage point for travelers to explore the city views and rich history that lies within the walls. The fortress was constructed by the Venetians in the 17th century, and today it is home to the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria. The fortress can be walked around the outside, where you’ll also get a glimpse of the Roman Amphitheater (unfortunately closed), and still get a taste of its impressive size and unique shape, but it is only 20 HRK (€2.70) to enter! On your winding walk down from the castle, stop by Jupiter Pizza for what is confirmed as the best pizza in town!

Zerostrasse

Directly under Fortress Kastel, there is a series of tunnels that were used as a bomb shelter during the First World War. Constructed by the Austro-Hungarian empire, these tunnels have 4 entrances that link the city into this underground 2.5 miles of tunnels. Today the tunnels host signs walking you through the history of this underground world, and occasionally there are some other events held inside!

Tip - Checkout @PulaNightLife on social media for any events or music shows happening inside the Zerostrasse tunnels! 

Roman Mosaic

The Roman Mosaic isn’t an excursion per se, but it’s definitely a fun thing to seek out in the city as you explore the weaving streets, alleys, and staircases that connect the Old Town. Since this isn’t an attraction, what you see are the authentic remnants of the time of the Romans, and hunting for them is the best part of seeing it! And the best part is it is totally free to see!

Read More - Why You Need To Visit Croatia If you're not already convinced!

Bike Ride To The Western Shore

Around the city, you’ll see Tier-branded electric bikes and scooters available for rent for a crazy good price! For only 10 HRK (€1.50) for every 30 minutes, you can explore further areas outside of the city. West of the Old Town, there is a network of paved, dirt, and gravel paths that will lead you to abandoned forts, coastline access, and incredible views in every direction. You can also see the well-known Galebijana Cave, but to fully explore it you’ll need to get into the water!

We loved that the bikes were electric because we felt we could ride around all day. To rent them, you need to download the Tier Bike and Scooter apps, where you can track where some are located, the battery, your ride history, and more. They have to be returned to a proper parking area shown on the map of the app, otherwise, you could incur a 200 HRK (€26) fee! There are plenty of parking areas in this area, which allows you to ditch the bike or scooter whenever you want to switch gears to do something else! 

Galebijana Sea Cave

While the offseason doesn’t offer a ton of options regarding tours or planned excursions on the water, sea kayaking is definitely still an option! Pula has an incredible sea cave that is so easy to get to, and when you go in the off-season you’re guaranteed to have the cave all to yourself! We called just about every kayak rental place on the map when we arrived, but since it was December, all of them were closed. Luckily, when we were on our e-bikes, we saw some advertisements for kayaks right near the water! We called and 10 minutes later we were off. Although the air was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius), the water was such a comfortable temperature that we were comfortable with just light jackets! 

The Galebijana Sea Cave is easy to get to, and a must-see for anyone in Pula no matter the time of year. The price was 375 HRK (€50) for a tandem kayak, and definitely worth every penny. In the off-season, contact Istria Kayak Tours via email at istriakayaktours@gmail.com, or by calling +385 098 802 349. 

Tip - Don't let cold weather stop you from exploring the sea caves, you may just have the area all to yourself if you travel in the off-season!

Pula Aquarium

The Pula Aquarium is a great way to experience the diverse aquatic life of the Adriatic Sea and inland fresh water ecosystems, especially during the time of year where it isn’t as accessible to see it naturally. It is located in the 130-year-old Austro-Hungarian Verudella Fort on the coast just south of Pula. The Pula Aquarium is committed to the rich biodiversity of its natural heritage, and is persistently working to rehabilitate and release endangered and at-risk species.

Cost - Entry is 170 HRK (€17) per adult and 100 HRK (€13) for students and seniors. Check out their website for any current discounts they have!

Brijuni National Park

Brijuni National Park is just off the northwest coast of Pula and hosts intriguing features and activities that will interest any traveler that passes through! The park is a bustling place to visit in the summer months with hotels on the island, a golf course and many land and water tours. Everything is accessible on foot, but if you’re not interested in walking a few miles to see it all there are bikes and golf carts available to rent! In the off-season, you’ll have a massive island to explore at your pace with so many things to see. 

As you exit the ferry, you can weave through a Mediterranean Garden where you’ll see a 1,600-year-old Olive Tree, which is the oldest in the entire region! From there, you can make your way to the northwest corner of the island where there is free admission to Safari Park, featuring zebra, ostrich, donkeys, and more! On the far side of the safari park, you will come out to the coast where there is a hidden underground fort and exposed dinosaur footprints, from 130 million years ago when these massive reptiles roamed the Earth. There is a rather corny statue of a velociraptor that gives the area a bit of a Jurassic Park vibe. 

On the southeastern coast, there are the remains of a Roman country residence with beautiful views looking back at the mainland, as well as an art and history exhibition in the Church of St. Germaine. Be sure to check out Pine Alley before heading out, it has the most beautiful glow with sunlight glistening through the needles. 

To get there, first, you’ll need to take a 15-minute bus ride from Pula up to Fažana, a quaint coastal town just North of Pula. Near the main harbor area, you’ll find the Brijuni National Park information center where you can purchase ferry tickets to get across to the main island. The ferry ticket also grants access to the National Park and all of the free excursions offered. The ferry runs at specific times so be sure to check the timetable for the dates you wish to visit. The total cost for the excursion is about 30 HRK (€4) for the round-trip bus transfer and 165 HRK (€22) for the ferry and park access.

Although this is a bit pricier for what we like to do, it was interesting to see so many attractions together on this island, and I definitely recommend it if you have a few extra days near Pula!

Read More - Check out this Detailed One Month Budget In Croatia For Travelers, so you can start planning!

Visit Rovinj

As you make your way up the western coast, you’ll come to the town of Rovinj, which locals couldn’t recommend to us enough! Originally built on an island by the Illyrians, the channel separating it from the mainland was filled in, making Rovinj a part of mainland Istria. Like all Croatian towns, the best thing to do is get to the town center and walk through the twisting streets that are centuries old. 

Directly in the center of the old town, you will find the Church of Saint Euphemia, you can’t miss it towering over the quaint village! You can make your way over to the city’s port where you will experience a horizon filled with painted hours that speckle the Adriatic Coast. Rovinj is a high tourist destination between May-September but is much quieter in the off-season so you’re sure to get an authentic experience. For the full experience, find a restaurant that serves Fuzi pasta, a specialty in the area!

Aerial view of Rovinj, Croatia, a great day trip from Pula, Croatia
Source - Hotels.com

Visit Motovun

Motovun really is a town like nothing I’ve ever experienced. This town is in the center of the Istrian peninsula surrounded by rolling hills with a backdrop of mountains to the northeast. This town, originally a fortress was constructed in 1 AD and has been occupied by the Celts, Illyrians, and Romans over the centuries. 

With a small population of only 531 people year-round, the community is rich with history and heritage through the houses within the town’s fortress walls and dotting the hillside. There are a few wineries around with grapes and wines local to this area, which is a great excuse to stop and try one (or a few)! Croatia is also known for its truffles, a lot of which are hunted for in the surrounding hills! 

Motovun is a great option for day trips from Pula, Croatia

Summary - Day Trips From Pula, Croatia

Whether you’re in Pula for a month, or just passing through, there are so many amazing features and excursions to check out. The city itself is small, but packed with so much history and features that you can’t miss! The city is affordable, with many of the historical tours being very cheap, but also accessible for free where you can still take in the beauty the city has constructed over centuries. 

The entire Istrian Peninsula is a region you cannot miss while traveling near the Adriatic, for its rolling hills, temperate weather, and Italian-influenced culture are welcoming and alluring to all. 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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